This past 4th of July weekend saw a heavily moderated attack on marketplace listing platform Etsy.
The attack, coined by Etsy sellers as “Invasion of the Listing Snatchers”, consisted of hundreds of bogus stores whose listings were copied from already established Etsy sellers. Since the last weekend was Independence Day in the US many sellers were primarily distracted by the celebrations, leaving the scammers to do their bidding on the unknowing Etsy shoppers.
The attention was directed to Etsy by the sellers themselves after some of them witnessed their listings being posted under different seller names. Moderators and sellers are working closely to find all the illegitimate storefronts and remove them from the site.
“The reports you make play a really important part in keeping the Etsy community safe for all buyers and sellers and we always appreciate you taking the time to flag these issues,” stated Linda, an Etsy moderator on a recent support thread.
Many Etsy sellers who saw their stores cloned were not certain how the scammers would profit from listings they are unable to fulfill. One seller on an Etsy support thread mentioned they have seen this kind of activity in the past. Fake sellers would duplicate other stores and await payment for a certain item, after the payment was cleared the listing and store would be removed.
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“They would make a sale, take the money and… poof… gone. I saw it done with a very expensive antique ring. Very nasty indeed and I hope Etsy takes them down quickly; it shouldn’t have to wait until Monday,” wrote one seller.
The fake stores are apparently from a single source. Most of the reported stores showed only 2 items being listed with the prices 99 cents and $99 being accosted to them. It is believed the fraudsters understand the pricing is a flag for sellers and shoppers, and are now randomly attaching prices, making their listing more difficult to trace as fraudulent.
“Also, it seems the ‘masterminds’ behind it may be changing the price range now that so many are being reported,” a seller posted.
From what is understood, hundreds of faux stores were shut down this weekend. No word yet on the exact number of fake stores were closed, or if any action will be taken to prevent it from happening again.